electronic hearth
ELECTRONIC HEARTH (above and right). This TV/VCR center becomes part of the living room decor when it's not in use. Designer Kim Roscoe took advantage of both the empty wall space over the gas fireplace (there is no heat buildup from the rear-vent model) and the closet behind it when fitting the 36-in. television into the cavity. The rear of the cabinet is fitted with cable and power outlets.
Not so long ago, the trend with home media equipment was to put every high-tech component on display. The more the family room resembled the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, with screens and speakers and electronic boxes splashed across the wall, the better. But times have changed. It isn't just techno-junkies who buy high-end audiovisual systems. Equipment prices have dropped, and many families now own more than one television, VCR or DVD player, and sound system. Most of us don't want all those blinking boxes in full view, especially when they are not in use. And with the popularity of open floor plans, many of us are looking for ways to unclutter our homes, not add to the jumble by having an entertainment system out in the open. We have some ideas that will help. Whether you're shopping for a ready-made system or making notes on building a custom unit, keep these items in mind. Location, Location
The first step is to find the ideal location for the media center. "Too often people treat finding the right spot for entertainment centers as an afterthought," says Doug Austin, manager of advanced design for Merillat Industries, a cabinet manufacturer in Adrian, Michigan. Obviously, you'll want to place the cabinetry in the room where you spend the most time and where you will be comfortable. The media center itself should be placed where glare won't interfere with daytime viewing. Sometimes window blinds are the best solution to that problem. An alternative is to experiment with a corner location.
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